We’ve all done it. Skimming, skimming, click. We click the link that promises 20 tips for losing 200 pounds without ever leaving the couch. Then we realize what we’ve done and mourn over that wasted 3 minutes by burying our head in a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips.

I’m here to convince you it is possible to create viral content, without falling prey to the the pitfalls of clickbait sites. It is possible to create viral content that not only gets all the clicks, but keeps the reader longer than 10 seconds and has them coming back for more.

Create great content

This is what will set you apart from all the others. You have to work hard to craft good stuff.

The haters hate the click baiters, because why? They disappoint. You click on the alluring headline, and it turns out, the information contained in that big ‘ol waste of time clip did not change your life, afterall. Or you actually can believe what those 9 poodle puppies did when they were introduced to a baby bunny rabbit.

Surprisingly, long form content gets more shares than short content, if the content is good quality. An article must contain information that is worth the reader’s time, provides valuable insights, and contains tons of info. that can be put into practice, pronto.

As Noah Kagan said:

The fact is that, yes people love to share LOL cat pics and funny memes, but they also want to share intellectually challenging, long-form content. Since the web is inundated with the former, you’re better off spending your time writing that one epic piece of content instead of writing lots of short, fluffy pieces

This lengthy article is a fantastic example of longform content. It’s extremely valuable to the readers, and is absolutely jam packed with information. This guide to promoting content is another excellent example of longform content. It’s highly actionable, and immediately adds significant value to the reader.

Craft great headlines

Make no mistake. I am not contradicting myself. Unlike clickbait articles, you will have an awesome headline that takes the reader to an equally awesome article.

You want your headline to be compelling and authentic, but also one that delivers on its promises. You want to grab the attention of the reader, and keep that attention. The copywriting gurus over at Copyblogger provide some helpful formulas to use when crafting a headline:

  • Who else wants [blank]?
  • The secret of [blank].
  • Little known ways to [blank].
  • Get rid of [problem] once for all].
  • And more.

Don’t settle, when it comes to crafting your headline. The last thing you want to do is to pore over an article writing for hours and hours, only to slap on a mediocre headline at 2:00 am.

Publish on Tuesday morning

According to Buffer, the best time of day to publish content, is in the morning. At that time in the day, you are competing with less social media noise.

BuzzSumo conducted a study, and found that social media content shared on Tuesday mornings, got the most shares.

Give yourself a head start, and think before you publish that new bit. If you want to go viral, publish on Tuesday mornings.

Make people laugh

If you turn on the news at any point in time, chances are the story will probably be depressing and/or terrifying. There’s enough bad in the world already.

People love to share a laugh or a smile. If your article can make someone laugh, there’s a good chance they’ll share it.

If you aren’t naturally funny, don’t try to channel Demetri Martin. Don’t try to be something you aren’t. It’ll just be awkward.

But if you are, listen up. A recent study showed that of the top 10,000 most popular articles that were shared, amusement and laughter accounted for 30% of them. By all means use this to your advantage, and add a dose of humor to your pieces.


By crafting headlines that grab the attention of the reader, you will establish a growing base of readers who stick around. Because unlike clickbait articles, readers will assign great value to your work, and they will not be disappointed they clicked that headline.